On Saturday, September 11 2010, the Dove World Church in Gainesville , Florida has announced that it plans to go ahead and burn copies of the Qur’an. 

As images of this burning of our most sacred text is flashed across the world, it will upset and anger many Muslims but we counsel restraint as Allah instructs us in the Qur’an: “True believers are those who show patience, firmness and self-control (Quran 3:17).

We condemn this type of hatred and bigotry no matter who it comes from.

It is clear to us that this Church’s leadership is not only totally ignorant of the message of the Qur’an, but also clearly ignorant of the teachings of Jesus Christ who said, “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you”. (Luke 6:27-28)

While the burning of Qur’an will hurt the feelings of more than 1.7 Billion Muslims around the globe, Muslims are urged to be merciful and just and not to retaliate against any person, place of worship or religious symbol. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) said: “Even at war you must not attack or damage any place of worship” (Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and others).

We would like to remind that Islam calls for vigorous condemnation of such hateful acts, but always within the margins of law and order.

It is of the utmost importance that we react, not out of emotion, but according to our religion. It was God Almighty, who said in the Holy Qur’an, “Good and evil are not the same. React to your enemy with what is better so that your enemy may become your good friend.” (41:34).

The consensus of our scholars teach us that this verse means that we should use forbearance, wisdom and a good standard of character to all non-violent provocations.

Therefore let it be clear that we Muslims are not allowed to use any form of violence in response to this provocative action.

Ottawa Groups join in world-wide launch of ‘The Charter for Compassion’

 OTTAWA, November 5, 2009 – A number of Ottawa groups are joining with other organizations from around the world to help launch the Charter for Compassion on November 12.

The Charter for Compassion is the wish of Karen Armstrong, religious historian and one of the worlds most original and provocative thinkers – ”I wish that you would help with the creation , launch and propagation of a Charter for Compassion based on the fundamental principles of universal justice and respect.”

Armstrong’s wish was granted by the Ted Prize (Technology, Entertainment, Design), an award given annually to three exceptional individuals who each receive $100,000 and, much more important, the granting of “One Wish to Change the World.”  

 “Working at the grassroots level, I am very inspired by the Charter for Compassion not just as an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason and action,” says Shelina Merani of Muslim Presence Ottawa.

The Charter for Compassion, officially endorsed by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Vancouver Peace Summit in September , is a single document crafted by people from all walks of  life, a cooperative effort to restore not only compassionate thinking but, more importantly, compassionate action to the centre of religious, moral and political life.  In Ottawa , activities will include lectures, cultural programs a photography exhibition and performances.    

 “In addition to participating in one of the many launch events, we invite each individual to adopt the charter as their own, to make a lifelong commitment to live with compassion,” says Richard Weeks from Initiatives of Change.

Asif Rehman added, “While we are inundated by images of conflict and messages about the differences between people on a daily basis, the untold story is that people share the same emotions and are connected by an underlying humanity and compassion.”

The organizations involved in the Charter for Compassion activities are: Muslim Presence Ottawa, Asif Rehman Photography, the Initiatives of Change, the Canadian Council for Muslim Women and the Jewish Reform Temple.

 Ottawa Activities

  • Wednesday November 11, 2009, Pre-Charter Launch Activity, “The Jews of Uganda ”; The Jewish Community Center Featuring J.J. Keki , 21 Nadolny Sachs Private Time: 7:30pm



  • Friday November 13, 2009 , “An Evening of Compassion” , Depanneur Sylvestre, 9 rue Fortier, Gatineau , Time: 5:30pm -10:00pm


  • Saturday November 14 , 2009 , “A Dialogue on Compassion” Saint Paul University , Panelists Shelina Merani (Muslim Presence Ottawa ) ,  Richard Weeks (Initiatives of Change) , David Abbey ( Temple of Israel ) , Asif Rehman (Asif Rehman Photography),Moderated by Ginette Gratton


  • Friday November 13, “An Exhibition on Photography: The Essence of Humanity” , Depanneur Sylvestre , 9 rue Fortier , Gatineau , Opening: Opening: Time: 5:30pm-10:00pm , Exhibition Dates: Friday November 13th to Thursday November 19th



For further information, please contact Shelina Merani, Telephone: 613-889-7177, email:,,

Muslim Presence Ottawa Launches Web Site-creates new space for dialogue and trust 

OTTAWA, December 20, 2008

Muslim Presence  announces the launch of its website, . Muslim Presence is a community network of activists that was launched in 20005 and has a vision of promoting universal valu

es and active citizenship based on a contextualized reading of Islam, an open identity, and a  harmonious co-existance in this society. 

The website will allow readers to interact directly with contributors, creating a new “space” for dialogue on issues affecting Muslims in the West.  The site has many features, including articles, news, event information and educational resources.  Readers can comment on any of these offerings, says Shelina Merani, Muslim Presence’s spokesperson.

“We are, in essence, constructing a space to stimulate debate and discussion about the issues facing Canadian Muslims today,” she added. 


For further information, please contact Shelina Merani, Telephone: 613-889-7177, email:




Tariq Ramadan Launches New Book at Toronto Convention

Toronto, Wednesday December 10, 2008

Professor Tariq Ramadan, one of the foremost voices of reformist Islam in the West, will be launching his new book – ‘Radical Reform – Islamic Ethics and Liberation’ – at the Reviving the Islamic Spirit Convention (RIS) in Toronto.

The RIS convention, the largest Muslim convention in Canada, is set to run from December 26 to December 28, 2008 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.

The renowned scholar will be appearing at book signings during the convention.

“Professor Ramadan is a public intellectual who likes to engage at the grassroots level with people,” said Shelina Merani of Muslim Presence Canada.

“We have arranged for a number of book signings during the three day convention that will allow Professor Ramadan to meet and interact with attendees.”   

In this new book, Professor Ramadan tackles head-on the main roadblock to Muslim participation in the civic life of the societies in which they live–namely, the rulings of Islamic jurists that make Islam seem incompatible with modern, scientifically and technologically advanced, democratic societies.

He sets forward a radical new concept of ijtihad (critical and renewed reading of the foundational texts), which puts context–including the knowledge derived from the hard and human sciences, cultures and their geographic and historical contingencies–on an equal footing with the scriptures as a source of Islamic law.

This global and comprehensive approach, he says, seems to be the only way to go beyond the current limits and face up to the crisis in contemporary Islamic thought: Muslims need a contemporary global and applied ethics.

Ramadan’s radical proposal and the conclusions to which it leads him are bound to provoke discussion and controversy. Muslims and non-Muslims alike will have to contend with Ramadan’s new idea of the very basis of Islam in the modern world.

Book Signing Schedule with Tariq Ramadan:

  • Friday December 26, 8:00 pm-10:00 pm
  • Saturday December 27, 2:00 pm-4:00 pm
  • Sunday December 28, 1:00 pm-2:30 pm

 For more information, please contact or (613) 889-7177


Muslim Presence Canada campaign continues to call for Moratorium on Hudud Laws

Ottawa, Thursday 30 March, 2006

Today Muslim Presence Canada re-launches its campaign calling for an international moratorium in the Muslim world on the application of hudud laws, the penalties linked to the Islamic penal code.

This campaign was originally initiated one year ago today by world renowned scholar, professor Tariq Ramadan and supported by Muslim Presence Canada and various other Islamic Organizations.

In his statement issued one year ago today, Professor Ramadan explains, “The political systems and the state of the majority Muslim societies do not guarantee a just and equal treatment of individuals before the law; it is therefore our moral and religious responsibility to ask for the immediate cessation to the application of the hudud laws.”

Muslim Presence Canada wishes to express its solidarity with this urgent call in order to safeguard the human rights and dignity of individuals who have been subjected to unjust treatment under political systems of some Muslim societies whose laws have been misapplied.

“We are re-launching today an international call for an immediate moratorium on corporal punishment, stoning and the death penalty in all majority Muslim countries,” said Muslim Presence Canada spokesman, Abdourahman Kahin.

“We continue this international campaign today considering that much remains the same in that there is no clear consensus among most Islamic scholars as to the comprehension of the texts and to the application of the hudud.” he added.

“We call upon the Islamic Scholars, leaders and Muslims to respond to this call and make their voices heard for the immediate cessation of the application of hudûd laws in the Muslim world and to begin a dialogue on the issue.

He concludes, “We feel that this dialogue is urgently needed to reconcile Muslims with the depth of the message of Islam that invites towards spirituality, education, justice and the respect of pluralism.”

Muslim Presence Canada is a network whose mission it is to promote universal values and active citizenship which is a positive force for Canadian society and humanity as a whole.

Event Calls For A Human Rights Approach To Security

(Ottawa – 18/010/2005) – Canadians need to pressure the government to take a human rights approach to security.

This was the message of a recent lecture entitled “Security for Canada: an Islamic and Human Rights Perspective” held at Carleton University with the internationally renowned speaker, Professor Tariq Ramadan from Oxford University and Human Rights activist, Alex Neve, Secretary General for Amnesty International Canada.

“The strength of democratic societies relies on their capacity to know how to stand firm against extremism while respecting justice in the means used to fight terrorism”, said Professor Tariq Ramadan.

“We shall achieve this balance only if every citizen, after the shock of terrorist attacks, makes the effort to get to know his neighbour better – his differences, his complexities, his values and hopes,” Ramadan added.

The October 13th event was organized by Muslim Presence Ottawa with the support of 12 key organizations.

The event promoted the idea that Islam, human rights and security can exist in harmony in Canada and welcomed dialogue about some crucial issues that will impact all Canadians.

Senior members from the RCMP, CSIS, Canadian Border Services Agency , Emergency Preparedness and Public Safety as well Foreign Affairs attended the event. Mr. Jim Judd, Director of CSIS, spoke as a respondent and recognized the concerns of Canadians on this crucial issue.

Mr. Bob Carty, award winning producer for CBC radio and board member of Canadian Journalists for Free _expression (CJFE) helped to facilitate the evening’s dialogue as moderator of the event.

Alex Neve urged Canadians to pressure the Canadian government to take a human rights approach to security.

“We have to bring basic universal human rights principles firmly into the centre of understanding what security truly means,” said Mr. Neve.

“If we give up on the notion of an unwavering, commitment to fundamental human rights – globally defined, globally applied and globally enjoyed – we will of course have caved in to terror, given up on justice and ultimately agreed to a world divided, unequal and full of violence,” he added.

A mass letter to the Prime Minister of Canada was signed by attendees urging the government to ensure that Canadian values are not sacrificed in the battle against extremism.

“We cannot afford to sacrifice our human rights and our core values of justice and equality of all citizens in our collective war against extremists,” said spokesperson from Muslim Presence Ottawa, Shelina Merani.

Building a space of mutual trust and collaboration

On 25 February, 2005 Muslim Presence Ottawa and the Ottawa Police Service are partnering together to present the following event entitled “Building Upon our Shared Experiences Post 9-11: Strategies for working with the Muslim Community”.

The key note speaker for this Service Provider event will be internationally renowned scholar Dr. Tariq Ramadan who was recently named in Time Magazine as one of the most influential thinkers of our time. His most recent book, Western Muslims and the Future of Islam was listed by the Christian Science Monitor as the best non-fiction book of 2004.

A similar event was held with Dr. Ramadan in July 2001. It proved to be successful in responding to the specific needs of Service Providers with respect to their Muslim clientele. We believe that it is necessary to build from that event, especially since the context has changed post 9-11.

As Service Providers who have Muslim clients, there are many questions you face on a daily basis which require answers. Canadian Muslims also face some tough questions to determine ways to live in harmony with their faith within a Western context.

This Service Provider event on 25 February will raise some fundamental questions: How can Muslims be faithful to their principles while participating fully in the civic life of Canadian society? How can a space of mutual trust be built to promote a rich, positive and participatory presence? How can Muslims Resist the temptation to shut themselves off as an isolated and marginalized minority?

Service Providers have an important role to play in assisting the Muslim Community in facing the challenges ahead. Prejudices, racism, and Islamophobia are tangible expressions of this hard reality. Muslims must not naively think that these will simply disappear as they become citizens settled in their societies. Increasingly, and for a considerable period, they will have to become accustomed to facing security measures and discrimination.

The reality is that there is a lack of knowledge of the other and a tendency to accept simplistic and absolute caricatures. We will need to face up to our ignorance and reject the clichés and prejudices that surround Islam.

For all who accept this challenge, it will be based on self-criticism, lasting and demanding dialogue, respect for diversity and the expression of common values. The path leads from simple integration to mutual enrichment. It’s going to take time and, above all, it means that we are going to have to start trusting each other. After Sept. 11th, that is the biggest single challenge we face.

Come to this lecture and participate in this dialogue.

Please help us promote this event by speaking to your staff about it and promoting it within your Service Provider network.

For more information, please contact the Diversity and Race Relations Section of the Ottawa Police Service 236-1222 ext. 5011.

We thank the following people